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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have done the impossible," the Parking Ticket Geek of The Expired Meter reports.

"He may have actually made Chicago's reviled parking meter lease deal even worse."

When the Parking Ticket Geek talks, I listen. No one knows more about the byzantine laws, policies and all-around chicanery of parking-related issues in this city than he does.

So pay heed:

"Initially, it sounded like the city had indeed arm twisted some mild improvements to the universally despised deal out of CPM.

"But as details of the proposed settlement emerged over the course of the day, Emanuel's allegedly new and improved parking meter lease deal looks like it could make things even more challenging and expensive for Chicago drivers."

Click through to find out why.


The Geek wasn't the only one who didn't play along with the mayor's narrative, which to my way of thinking became inoperable the second he left Monday's news conference without taking questions. If the deal was such a triumph, why didn't Rahm wanna talk about it?

Rahm did score a handful of early headlines crediting him with renegotiating the despised meter deal, but the tone of the coverage changed as reporters let the new parameters settle in.

Emanuel's evasions didn't help.

"The mayor refused to provide the proposed settlement of the disputed charges with Chicago Parking Meters LLC or the draft amendment to the parking lease, pending introduction to the City Council next week," the Trib account reports. "That made it impossible to fully determine what the bottom line would be for drivers, how the city calculated its savings and why the firm would agree to a deal that Emanuel said could save taxpayers up to $1 billion over the life of the lease."

Hint: There will be no $1 billion savings. Of this I'm sure.

And so is just about everyone else.

Still, some of the coverage has been quite odd. Take Mark Brown, for example.

"Rahm Emanuel has been saying since he was a candidate for mayor that if elected he would do what he could to make the city's hated parking meter privatization deal better for its residents," Brown writes.

"As I always suspected, there wasn't much he could do."

Because Rahm says so?

"It was a bad deal, but we're stuck with it, sorry to say, and anyone who tells you different is either fooling themselves or trying to fool you. Unfortunately, you can't challenge a binding contract on the basis of political malpractice."

Right. There's nothing you can ever do when a binding contract is involved. Just ask the Wrigley rooftop owners or Chicago's teachers.

Or ask Ald. Scott Waguespack, who tends to pay attention to detail and eschews overblown rhetoric.

"[Waguespack] called on the Emanuel administration to join a lawsuit seeking to overturn the contract," the Trib reports.

"(Emanuel) should be standing side by side with the citizens, with corporation counsel, even if it takes a little bit of time, a little bit of effort and saying, 'We'll stand up and we'll try to find a way to fight this through court' at a minimum, and see if that works first, instead of saying 'We're not even interested. I'll go negotiate on the side,'" Waguespack said.

Rahm could also be more forthcoming; without doing so, he loses the benefit of the doubt.

Instead, he's playing games.

"I literally have millions of dollars of unpaid bills sitting on my desk that I have refused to pay," AP quotes Emanuel saying. "The company now knows that I'm a different type of mayor, this is a different administration and Chicago has a different way of doing business."

Then he left so he wouldn't have to say "Richard M. Daley" out loud.

"Emanuel only heightened City Council skepticism by reading a statement, but refusing to answer questions about the changes he made to improve a 'badly negotiated' deal he called a 'straitjacket on the city' that allowed meter rates to go up 'too much, too quickly' with no cap on the company's profits or reimbursements," the Sun-Times reports.

"In a follow-up conference call with the Chicago Sun-Times, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton and World Business Chicago vice chair Michael Sacks explained how the mayor calculated the projected savings.

"They said the company's reimbursements claims of $50 million over the last two years for metered parking spaces taken out of service because of policing actions have been settled for $8.9 million.

"Since similar claims would have been made in each of the next 71 years - and won't be now that the company has agreed to accept the city's reimbursement formula going forward - the savings over the life of the contract will top $1 billion, they said."

Wow. That's like me getting $10 knocked off my phone bill this month and bragging that I've just saved $120 this year and $8,520 over the next 71 years because I was likely to have that same dispute with every forthcoming bill.

That's Groupon accounting.

But the first question I would have asked Patton and Sacks had I had the opportunity would have been: Why am I talking to you? Why did the mayor dodge questions? How long did it take you guys to come up with this media strategy?


"I expect the City Council to take time to review this proposal and ask questions, time not provided the first time around," Emanuel said.

A) You mean the time for negotiation isn't through?

B) As much time as the council had to consider the infrastructure bank?

C) But not the media - no questions from them. At least of me.


"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to let people park at meters for free on Sundays comes at the expense of parkers in River North, who will have to feed their meters until midnight," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"And that was news to the neighborhood's alderman, Brendan Reilly, who said he found out about it from a press release."

For further questions, please schedule an appointment with said press release.


See also: Rahm's Tweaks Change None of What Chicagoans Abhor About The Meter Deal.


* Straight Outta Hyde Park: Our Assassin.

* Local Music Notebook: Dennis DeYoung vs. Johnny Marr.

* Our Bipolar Politics: Extreme Political Attitudes May Stem From Illusion Of Understanding.

* Bulloney: Season Apparently Comes Down To Kirk Hinrich.

* Double Decks O' Fun: Rebuilding The Wells Street Bridge.

* 24 Hours With WWMEB: Blaxploitation TV.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Unmetered.


Posted on April 30, 2013

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